“Kreutzwald’s Century”: Estonian Cultural History Web

Marju Mikkel
Marin Laak

“Kreutzwald’s Century” (KC) is a voluminous content-based literary historical web project focusing on the writer and his/her works. The project is based on (1) the century-long tradition of writing Estonian literary histories (data model), (2) digital resources of memory institutions (books, photos), and  (3) research on the usage of new media (surveys). The project was initiated in 2004.

The content of KC is based on a network of links, which allows users to view different types of materials related to one author – the author’s biography, photos, and works – all at once. All the digital objects are brought together in different menus linking to the library, reference materials on the writers, and photo archives.

Estonian writers (the project currently includes 149 authors) constitute the core of KC – all other materials are grouped around them in a way that it is possible to trace the development of Estonian literature in cultural-historical context. For that, the authors are arranged along a temporal axis “Estonian culture and situation”.

In developing the project’s layout and image content, KC takes into consideration the visual preferences of a 21st century web user. The most recent version (2014) meets the needs of tablet and smartphone users. The image sources could be divided in two: 1) the writers’ photo archives (more than 8,800 photos) originate in the collections of the Estonian Cultural History Archives; and 2) illustrations on the temporal axis are linked from the digital archives of other memory institutions (mainly the Estonian Film Archives). The created corpus of literary texts shows great potential for the study of Estonian literature and the history of Estonian literary language, and KC sets the visual materials of different archives in a wider temporal context.